National Lottery cash reviving run-down Gothic cemeteries as public greenspaces and wildlife havens

Historic cemeteries are usually associated with bereavement or gothic horror.

However, today Victorian cemeteries across the UK are being revived as places for local communities to relax, unwind and enjoy the natural environment, thanks to National Lottery investment.

The investment has helped revive mausoleums, chapels, tombs, graves and the biodiversity of historic cemeteries across the UK, creating places for local communities to relax, unwind and enjoy nature.

New grants totalling £6.2million has helped Sheffield General Cemetery Park; Belfast City Cemetery; and Sir Joseph Paxton’s London Road Cemetery, Coventry.

Brompton Cemetery, which is one of London’s ‘Magnificent Seven’, will be the first to reopen in July, following National Lottery investment.

Sheffield General Cemetery Park; Belfast City Cemetery; and London Road Cemetery, Coventry have been awarded more than £6.2m of National Lottery cash to be revived and restored for the benefit of their local communities.

The improvements will see historic layouts reinstated; mausoleums, chapels, tombs, graves and sculptures will be restored; the past and present traditions of death and bereavement will be better understood by new visitors; and native wildlife and habitats will be protected and encouraged thorough planting and better horticultural management. The result will be three welcoming greenspaces that will not only benefit local communities but local wildlife.

These – and four other cemeteries that have received money from HLF and the Big Lottery Fund - take the total joint National Lottery investment in historic cemeteries to £15.1m.

The news comes as the Grade I registered Brompton Cemetery, one of London’s Victorian ‘Magnificent Seven’, reopened this week.

It is the first joint National Lottery-funded cemetery project to open following a £6.2m restoration and conservation project. The project has revealed the cemetery’s architectural splendour; uncovered hidden heritage gems; preserved the historic landscape and created a wildlife haven for communities in a densely-populated part of the capital.

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